What We're Reading: Where Colon Cancer Strikes Affects Survival

Stories on the potential health savings if more people quit smoking, and Louisiana's failed attempt to put nursing homes in managed care.

A 10-year study has found that patients who develop colon cancer on the left side survive longer than those who have cancer strike on the right side. The study’s principal author, Alan P. Venook, MD, of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) said, “All colon cancer is not created equally,” and the findings also show standard treatment performs much better on patients whose cancer appears on the left side. Full results will be presented at the upcoming meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

If 10% of American smokers quit and the others cut the habit by 10%, the United States could save $63 billion a year in medical costs. That’s the finding of an analysis by noted tobacco researcher Stanton Glantz, PhD, of UCSF’s Center for Tobacco Research Control and Education. Glantz told Reuters, “You start to see the benefits so quickly, and they’re huge because healthcare costs are so gigantic.”

Louisiana’s struggles to prioritize healthcare spending amid a budget crisis continue. On Tuesday, legislation that would have put the state’s famously powerful nursing home industry under managed care died in committee, amid opposition from the industry lobby. The projected savings had been $31 million the first year and $430 million over 5 years. The state has among the highest nursing home admissions for patients with limited needs.